Obama redoubles efforts to maintain fundraising edge


DENVER — U.S. President Barack Obama and his party are redoubling their fundraising efforts after robust hauls by Republican rival Mitt Romney and a slew of conservative-leaning independent groups that are raking in cash from the party faithful highly motivated to topple the Democrat.

Obama still has a significant edge, but it’s shrinking rapidly.

That explains why the president, fresh off of back-to-back international summits, plunged back into his re-election race Wednesday with a series of fundraising events in Denver and California’s Silicon Valley. The president was looking to stockpile cash to pay for his national organization, advertising to spread his message and get-out-the-vote operations in key states.

“We’re going to have to contend with even more negative ads, even more cynicism and nastiness and just plain foolishness,” Obama said in Denver. “But the outcome of the election is ultimately going to depend upon all of you.”

Earlier Wednesday, Obama declared the world has a “new feeling about America” and more respect for its leadership. Obama, speaking to graduates of the U.S. Air Force Academy, made clear that he thinks “American is exceptional” — a counterargument to Romney, who has challenged Obama’s belief in America.

Obama told the cadets that they are the first class in nearly a decade to graduate into a world that has no Osama bin Laden, no war in Iraq and no questions about when the war in Afghanistan will end. The president said a disappearing “dark cloud of war” will mean a less strained and better prepared military, and more use of other U.S. power — diplomatic, economic and humanitarian.

He delivered the speech hours before he shifted toward political fundraising out West.

It’s the start of an extensive money push by Obama in the coming weeks that will feature a series of high-end fundraisers, including New York events with former President Bill Clinton and actress Sarah Jessica Parker and a Los Angeles trip to raise money among gay and lesbian supporters. Smaller-dollar pushes also are under way.

Obama, a record-shattering fundraiser during his first presidential campaign four years ago, has a built-in advantage as the incumbent and still has a wide money lead over Romney, the challenger who only recently combined fundraising efforts with the Republican National Committee after a bruising — and expensive — party primary. Romney has been the all-but-certain Republican nominee for more than a month now.